Part of the experience of visiting a retail store, office building or even a city, is the ease visitors have while interacting with the space to find what they need-a product, the cafeteria or a way out.
When asked to describe her profession, Laura Bade replied, "Environmental graphic design is a visual communicator for wayfinding. Signage and wayfinding are small components of what we do. Sculptural elements, wall graphics, carpet/tile patterns, donor recognition, lighting, landscaping and signage: either working together or as separate entities, these environmental graphics play a role with the visual aspects of wayfinding.
"Incorporating the design with the architecture and/or environment is key. This profession melds many design disciplines such as urban planning and design, architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, signage and wayfinding design, brand development and so forth. To quote my friend and colleague, Ron Rae, 'environmental graphics is graphic design and then some!'"
In her position, Bade takes part in the design process from the initial client meeting through the final installation. She works with a specific team of professionals selected from relevant areas of the firm (architecture, interior design, graphic design, marketing, fabrication and environmental graphic design) to meet the requirements of each account. Collaborating at key points during the design process, this team identifies the best solution to meet the client's needs. She recently worked on signage for the Palace of Auburn Hills and is currently working on the donor system for Henry Ford Health Systems at the new West Bloomfield and the Detroit hospitals.
"Every job revolves around the client's brand; therefore, the design solution must reflect the architectural environment and the organization's image," explained Bade. "The way a company is represented to their clientele is very important."
"Environments often provide the initial experience with a brand. The brand needs to be integrated into the experience from the moment a visitor enters to provide a sense of place. Translating the clients brand into three-dimensional forms and spaces and conveying a brand's personality is an integral part of any of our design endeavors."
Bade, also a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers (SEGD), developed a solid work ethic and design foundation as a graphic design student at CCS. She enjoyed the competitive nature of her peers and appreciated the real world preparation her instructors provided.
"The campus is filled with amazingly talented people," said Bade. "There was always someone who could do something better. Being the competitive person that I am, that always pushed me to the next level and in the end, hopefully, a better design."
"The strict deadlines and the classroom critiques were also great preparation. In the real world the client doesn't care how tired you are and certainly always has an opinion."
- Graduation Year: 1997
- Major: Graphic Design
- Employer: Ford & Earl Associates, Inc.
- Title: Environ. Graphic Designer
Designed and created by DDM Marketing & Communications.